San Pietro in Vincoli

Very close to the Colosseum you can find an unremarkable but very popular church San Pietro in Vincoli. The basilica got its name due to the chains it houses. Catholics believe these are chains that bound Saint Peter when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem.

The basilica has its artistic value for being the home of Michelangelo’s statue of Moses that is considered to be one of the most popular sculptures in the history of humanity.

Michelangelo's statue of Moses

Michelangelo’s statue of Moses

The statue of Moses originally intended as part of a massive 40-statue to decorate the tomb for Pope Julius II. Due to lack of funding the project wasn’t completed but people can enjoy the sculptures of Leah, Rachel and Moses.

The sculpture is also called “Moses with horns”. The reason is in incorrect translation of the Bible. Moses is depicted with horns on his head, connoting “the radiance of the Lord”, due to the similarity in the Hebrew words for “beams of light” and “horns”. There is an opinion that Michelangelo knew about the mistake but despite that he depicted the horns in order to show the light emanating from Moses when he came down from the mount.

Church San Pietro in Vincoli

Church San Pietro in Vincoli

Many art experts consider the sculpture to be the greatest artwork of a genius. I advise you to form your own opinion of this statement by viewing photos of the sculpture in the “Photos of Rome” section.

You should take into account the opening hours of the basilica. As far as I remember it is closed from 2:00 p.m. till 5:00 p.m. As for us, after a day full of history of Rome we took a rest at the hotel and then spent a wonderful evening near the Spanish Steps. There was the seventh day in Italy before us.

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